For many marketers, it is too easy to get bogged down by day-to-day tasks. We find ourselves just trying to get through the day. We run an ad, send an email newsletter, write a blog post, push out some content on social and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. However, to get the most out of your marketing time and money, you need a marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy is more than a glorified to-do list with boxes to check off. It is a roadmap leading you down a path towards achieving your marketing objectives.

Your strategy will help set short- and long-term goals, build campaigns and determine the marketing tactics required to achieve those goals. Developing your strategy will force you to think about where you want your business to be next month, next quarter, next year and outline how to get there.

Establishing your overall marketing strategy can sound like a daunting task. Let’s be honest – it is a daunting task! But, we’ve broken it down into a few manageable steps.

  • Build buyer personas.

How can you begin to think about marketing plans, campaigns or tactics if you don’t know who you are trying to reach?  Unless your product or service has an extremely broad appeal, the shotgun blast “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” approach to marketing is rarely effective. The first step towards a successful marketing strategy is to identify your audience and build buyer personas.

A buyer persona represents your ideal customer and helps you to better understand your current and prospective customers. Digital marketing is highly targeted; therefore, you can – and should -drill down to specifics when it comes to buyer personas. Base your buyer personas on real data whenever possible, not assumptions. Consider demographic information such as location, age and income but also think about your customers’ goals, challenges, interests and priorities.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to speak to actual customers and employees. Conduct research and interviews to help gather valuable customer information!

  • Identify goals

Once you have identified your audience, it’s time to be SMART and set your goals. (See what we did there?) You want your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Avoid broad goals such as “increase sales” or “generate more leads”. Narrow these down to what you specifically want to achieve and in what timeframe. For example: “increase sales of x product or service by x amount within x time frame.”

While considering your goals, you’ll also want to be thinking about what metrics you will use to measure success. Focus on actionable metrics such as conversion rates, customer lifetime value, registrations, or logins as opposed to vanity metrics like impressions, likes and follows. Vanity metrics are often non-transactional and rarely give valuable data on which you can act.

REMEMBER: Marketing goals should always tie back to overall company goals.

  • Evaluate & audit digital channels and assets.

Identify and evaluate your existing digital assets by tracking your owned, earned and paid media.

Owned Media
Owned are the assets over which your company has complete control such as your website, social media accounts, blogs, etc.

Earned Media
Earned media refers to word-of-mouth, PR work, press mentions, and customer reviews.

Paid Media
Paid is any asset you buy including paid social, native, Google AdWords, sponsored posts, etc.

During your evaluation, take a good look at the content on your website – your About Us page, blog posts, articles, product descriptions, ebooks, etc. When this content is search engine optimized, it can drive valuable organic and search traffic to your site.

What content performs best? Generates the most leads? Drives the most conversions? In that same vein, where are the gaps in your content? What other topics and formats would appeal to your audience?

Conduct a similar audit of any earned and paid media. Did an article you submitted to an industry publication generate qualified traffic? Are followers sharing your LinkedIn posts more so than Facebook? Is all that money you are spending on Google AdWords delivering the results you expected? When was the last time you reviewed your paid social plan?

By the end of this evaluation and auditing process, you should have a clear picture of what is – and what isn’t – working. This will enable you to create a plan listing any articles, blog posts, white papers or other content suggestions you need to produce.

  • Bring it all together

Now that you have identified who you want to reach, what you want to achieve and what digital assets you have in place, it’s time to bring it all together and craft a focused, manageable plan to help you reach your target audience.

Simple, right?

Developing a marketing strategy is an intimidating prospect. But, if you invest the time now, you will save time and money later.

535media is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free digital strategy session. We can discuss your marketing goals and how 535media can help get you there.

Marketing Strategy Workbook
Download 535media’s free Marketing Strategy Workbook to help get started with your Marketing Goals, Initiatives, Buyer Personas and Digital Audit.